[an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive]

Feature Main Page
Photo Gallery
On Assignment
Learn More
Multimedia: Global Storms
Multimedia: Birth of Isabel
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Learn More
In Learn More the National Geographic magazine team shares some of its best sources and other information to expand your knowledge of our featured subjects. Special thanks to the Research Division.

Content Jump Links:
 Did You Know?  
 Related Links  
 NGS Resources  

Did You Know?Did You Know?

Earth Observers
Weather watchers have become familiar with the stunning images of hurricanes made from satellites high in Earth orbit as the huge spirals of dangerous clouds bear down on populated islands and coastlines.
Less well-known but of proven importance since its 1997 launch is the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission. A kind of rain gauge in the sky, TRMM orbits just 218 miles (351 kilometers) above Earth's tropical latitudes. Its suite of instruments monitors storms and measures rainfall, which is an indication of atmospheric heating. Such heating impacts large-scale atmospheric circulation and is a key ingredient in understanding global climate. Looking for year-to-year variation in rainfall over tropical oceans, where most of Earth's rain falls, researchers are learning how climatic conditions portend devastating droughts or floods or other consequences of climate change.
Weather forecasters can also use the near real-time TRMM observations to understand how seasonal hurricanes gain strength as they barrel across warm Atlantic Ocean water. By measuring the rainfall within clouds towering 10 miles (16 kilometers) and more above the sea surface, experts can calculate the amount of energy released and predict how fierce the hurricane will become. Early warning can be transmitted to people in harm's way.
To read more about the mission, go to the website noted below. A link to a study by the National Academy of Science gives further detail.
—Barbara L. Wyckoff

Related Links

Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission
This site features an Earth-observing satellite that allows scientists insight into changing rainfall patterns and the implications for predicting weather.

National Hurricane Center
This site is a good first stop for current news on hurricane activity. It also features historical information and tips on preparedness.

Frequently Asked Questions
From basic definitions to debunking myths, this site includes a wealth of information. 

National Weather Service
Get nationwide coverage of current weather situations, including hurricanes as they occur.

Learn about the details of the "hot towers" in Hurricane Frances.

National Climate Data Center
Find a season summary of the 2004 hurricanes.



Goldenberg, Stanley B., and others. "The Recent Increase in Atlantic Hurricane Activity: Causes and Implications." Science (July 20, 2001), 474-79.
Pielke, Roger A., Jr., and Roger A. Pielke, Sr. Hurricanes: Their Nature and Impacts on Society. John Wiley and Sons, 1997.
Sheets, Bob, and Jack Williams. Hurricane Watch. Vintage Books, 2001.

NGS Resources

Bourne, Joel K. Jr., "Gone With the Water." National Geographic (October 2004), 88-105.
Rosenfeld, Jeff. "Severe Storms: Rain, Snow,  Wind."  Relentless Earth. National Geographic Books, 1997.
Smith, Mary G. "Retiring Into…a Hurricane." National Geographic (March 1996).
Canby, Thomas Y. Raging Forces: Earth in Upheaval. National Geographic Books, 1995.
Gore, Rick. "Andrew Aftermath." National Geographic (April 1993), 2-37.
Funk, Ben. "Hurricane!" National Geographic (September 1980), 346-79.

E-Mail this Page to a Friend